Neil joined SoftBank Investment Advisers’ London office in 2017. He has more than a decade of experience structuring a variety of deals across the world with Deutsche Bank and Coller Capital. At SoftBank, Neil focuses on the company’s EMEA portfolio and has a particular interest in fintech, e-commerce, and crypto.
- Clarity AI
- Envelop Risk
Why did you join SoftBank?
I joined after Saleh Romeih pitched me on SoftBank’s vision to build and support an ecosystem of the largest, most disruptive tech companies on the planet. At the time, there were relatively few of us in the EMEA office. Being part of this fledgling team but having this huge fund behind us was incredible. We’ve matured as a business and expanded a lot since then, but we’ve held onto the entrepreneurial spirit that drew me in.
There aren’t many funds of our size that dedicate themselves to actively helping businesses expand internationally.
What sets SoftBank apart from other VC firms?
Our ability to connect great people and companies in our portfolio with one another anywhere in the world. A good example of this can be seen through our activity in the Middle East, a region that I am quite familiar with as I lived there for about 15 years. We have not only invested in companies from the region, but we have also assisted a number of our international portfolio companies with their entry and expansion there. It’s a diverse region with large markets and promising entrepreneurs, and we benefit from having incredible colleagues as well as a very strong network of partners on the ground.
What excites you most about the work you’re doing at SoftBank?
Our openness to explore late stage investments in nascent geographies and asset classes. For the past 18 months, a substantial part of my time has been focused on studying and sourcing crypto investments. People are concerned about crypto’s token price volatility, but if you think about the businesses the Vision Funds invest in, they’re mostly broad-reaching companies that aren’t susceptible to small-scale up or down trends. They’re companies that either operate as broad consumer platforms or provide infrastructure which supports the broader crypto ecosystem. By investing in the picks and shovels of the crypto market, we are partnering with disruptive businesses that are likely to thrive through economic cycles.
What’s something people would be interested to know about you?
I’ve played classical piano since I was 8 years old. I play Chopin almost exclusively. He has this unique ability to challenge your hands and your mind. His compositions occupy me completely, which makes it a great way to escape.